Home | WHPA Press Releases | Slaying of Red Cross Workers Condemned by World Health Professions Alliance

World Medical Association [WMA]
International Council of Nurses (ICN)
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)

Slaying of Red Cross Workers Condemned
by World Health Professions Alliance

WPHA Calls for Special UN Rapporteur


Geneva, 9 May 2001 ---- The nurses, physicians and pharmacists of the world, represented by the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the recent brutal killings of six International Committee of the Red Cross workers in Congo.  The six murdered staffers included a Swiss nurse, a Columbia relief worker and four Congolese workers.

In the face of yet another attack on health and humanitarian workers and the flouting of the red cross emblem identifying health professionals and relief workers in conflict zones, the WHPA has acknowledged the United Nations (UNHCHR) decision to appoint a special rapporteur for human rights defenders.  However, the alliance renews its call on the United Nations to let this rapporteur focus his / her work on health professionals.  It is imperative to monitor and ensure the independence and safety of health professionals in providing care to all people.

"Health professionals are desperately needed in areas of conflict and have an ethical duty to serve humanity", said Judith Oulton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses (ICN)."  But protection for them must be strengthened, as increasingly the Red Cross symbol, and other relief worker identification, seems to be a target rather than a protection."

"This attack on health and relief workers acting in the line of duty is profoundly shocking", stated Ton Hoek, General Secretary of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).  "As health professionals, we believe all people have a right to care, but providers of care must enjoy a special protection and respect."

Dr Delon Human of the World Medical Association (WMA) added that health professionals often suffer reprisals for providing treatment and counseling to those whose human rights have been violated. "It is unacceptable that health professionals are often prevented from providing care.  They are tortured, imprisoned, banished or killed in the line of duty and health facilities, including training institutions, are too often targeted for wonton destruction."




The World Health Professions Alliance brings together medicine, nursing and pharmacy through their representative international organisations, International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Medical Association (WMA) and represents more than 20 million health professionals worldwide.


  • The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of 125 national nurses' associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.  Operated by nurses for nurses since 1899, ICN is the international voice of nursing and works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

  • The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the worldwide federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. Pharmacists are health care professionals dedicated to improving access to and value of appropriate medicine use worldwide.   

  • The World Medical Association (WMA) is a global federation of national medical associations, representing the millions of physicians worldwide.  Acting on behalf of physicians and patients, the WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical science, education, ethics and health care for all people.


For further information contact Linda Carrier-Walker Tel :  +41 22  908 0100;
fax :   +41 22  908 0101;  email:  ; Web site  www.icn.ch 

PR/01 #10


What is the WHPA? | Press Releases | Joint Statements | Fact Sheets |
Events/Conferences | Counterfeit Campaign | Links | Contact Us | Home